Water Quality Work Group

The FBRP Water Quality Group has been active since the Partnership began, creating maps, looking for partners with whom to collaborate and considering watersheds in which we could work.

Our Co-chairs are:

Our members include:

  • Jane Margaret Bell–Environmental Scientist
  • Michelle Pugliese–Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy
  • Mary Roderick–Land of Sky Regional Council
  • Ann Marie Traylor–Environmental Quality Institute
  • Caitlin Worsham–Haywood Waterways Association
  • Hannah Stuart–Americorps
  • Zan Price–Jennings Environmental
  • Dave Penrose–Penrose Consulting
  • Michelle Pena Ortiz–Environmental Quality Institute
  • Renee Fortner–RiverLink
  • Jason Mays–U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Rachael Hoch–North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Hartwell Carson–French Broad Riverkeeper
  • Luke Etchison–North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
  • Greg Jennings–Jennings Environmental
  • Suzanne Klimek–Haywood Waterways Association Board Chair
  • Maria Wise–Mills River Partnership
  • Tim Fox–North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality

River chub with tubercles Credit: Luke Etchison

FBRP WQ Group Successes in 2020 and Priorities for 2021

Our priorities for 2020 and results include:

  • reducing stormwater impacts from cities and towns by improving streamside buffers and advocating for green infrastructurePartners met with City of Asheville to discuss stormwater issues; have established SWTF that will begin to tackle this.  Group received DEQ Watershed Action Plan training for virtual plan development that will enable us to better evaluate stormwater effects.
  • working to eliminate release of untreated sewage from cities and homes across the regionLand of Sky Regional Council applied for a Community Development Block Grant for Infrastructure for City of Brevard to extend sewer lines in areas where septic tanks are failing (125 homes).
  • developing relationships with agricultural and working lands representatives to help farmers improve practices related to runoff, erosion, and stream impacts, and to preserve land value-Ongoing work.
  • evaluating the development of new funding sources to support such workOngoing including WAP training that can lead to 319 funding.
Water Quality Group members (Tim Fox, Renee Fortner, Jane Margaret Bell and Morgan Harrison) taking data for Cane Creek Watershed Action Plan. Credit; Anne Keller

In 2020, we accomplished some additional important work:

  • Selecting three focal areas to work on: Cane Cr., Richland Cr., and Upper Swannanoa
  • Holding field trainings on how to input “impact” data into DEQ system
  • Meeting bimonthly to report on activities, discuss projects and various groups’ results and
  • Providing and uploading information about the watershed and WQ on the FBRP website

For 2021 we will prioritize:

  • Work in the three areas, hopefully leading to identification of projects and funding to address
  • Pursuing connections with cities of Fletcher, Asheville, Montreal and Waynesville, and community members related to focal areas, and Town Branch (AVL)
  • Continuing outreach to the agricultural community to get them involved in the Partnership
  • Outreach to groups representing demographics that are under-represented in the Partnership and
  • Discussing the potential for a French Broad River RCPP Proposal

Fly fishing on the Toe River. Credit: Jay Hawthorne

NC Wildlife Resources Commission biologists sampling for fish. Credit: Andrea Leslie
Life Cycle of a wavy-rayed mussel from lure to release of glochidia to attachment on gills of fish, to dropping off after their transformation into juvenile mussels. Credit: Rosa Dews, Warren Wilson College, N.C.